Two Horticultural Sciences researchers, Dr. Fred Gmitter and Dr. Jude Grosser have developed three new citrus cultivars that offer substantial improvements over current varieties. Drs. Gmitter and Grosser are citrus breeders at the UF Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred.
Just last week the new citrus cultivars were approved for release, so they will now be tested by various growers and then eventually commercialized. The first variety is a sweet orange selected for its low seed numbers, high soluble solids, exceptional juicing qualities, and strong mid-season production.
The second release is an early-season Hamlin sweet orange. This selection also offers superior juice color and excellent soluble solid profiles making it ideal for processing, as well as early season production.
The third selection released is a seedless fresh-market tangerine. This particular fruit is extremely sweet and flavorful, and has been a favorite of school kids visiting the laboratory in Lake Alfred.
The committees that approve releases have all had an opportunity to sample the new products. The results were unanimous that these releases shared exceptional flavor and sweetness, and the lack of seeds was also recognized.
The release of these three new cultivars is exciting because it is the first step in their wide commercialization. These newly approved releases follow on the heels of nine other new cultivars that were previously approved for release, including other seedless mandarins, deep red-fleshed pummelos, and a grapefruit hybrid that may circumvent the so-called Grapefruit Juice Effect. The industry is always seeking improved citrus varieties for juice and the fresh market. UF researchers in the Horticultural Sciences Department are helping to meet that need.